KILMACUD CROKES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6
Three goals within four first-half minutes paved the way for Kilmacud Crokes to overcome Ballyboden St Enda's by five points to deservedly claim the Dublin Minor 'A' Hurling Championship at Parnell Park last Sunday morning.
The win secured a third title in succession for Crokes, with the manner they reeled in an initially rampant 'Boden side to eventually prevail a testimony to their all-round supremacy over the hour.
For 'Boden, who suffered their second successive final defeat at the hands of their near neighbours, the pain will be more acute given they enjoyed a stunning opening, leading by six points after just nine minutes.
After Gavin Corrigan had given 'Boden an early lead through a second-minute free, the lively corner forward showed exceptional technique in flicking an Alan Cleary delivery to the net two minutes later to hand the Firhouse Road men the ideal opening.
Corrigan, who impressed hugely in his side's semi-final win over Lucan Sarsfields, landed another free two minutes later and with almost all the play weighted towards the church end, full-forward James Roche pushed St Enda's six points clear with a tidy score of his own.
With wing-back Brian McCarthy in sublime form for St Enda's, mopping up superbly and using the ball with great intelligence, there seemed little Crokes could do to impress themselves on the contest. But they eventually received a foothold through an excellent score from midfielder Matthew Geraghty in the 12th minute. Within two minutes, Crokes were very much back in the hunt when fatal indecision between goalkeeper Conor Dooley and his full-back line, a recurring theme of the morning, allowed Barry Horan to sneak in for Kilmacud's opening goal. As Jamie Clinton began to impose himself on proceedings, Kilmacud dramatically took the lead as Ken Kelly raced unopposed from 35 metres and his shot hit the bottom corner of the net, despite a degree of confusion as to the validity of the score between referee Terry Carton and his umpires at the Donnycarney End.
'Boden became increasingly ragged during this period and it was little surprise that a third Crokes goal arrived in the 18th minute as captain Alex Pilkington found the net from eight metres despite the best efforts of Dooley on the line.
Fifteen minutes without a score for St Enda's was finally ended when Roche turned smartly to land a much-needed score and Cleary's injury-time point left Ballyboden four points back (3-3 to 1-5) at the interval.
Facing a stiffish breeze in the second-half, Kilmacud dropped Oisin O'Rorke from corner-forward to sweep up in the middle third and the opening 10 minutes of the half worked to perfection as Crokes began enjoying a tighter rein on the 'Boden attack, with Robert Murphy an immense presence at full-back.
However, another defensive error, this time by Kilmacud netminder Paddy Tighe in the 41st minute, allowed a long-distance Jamie Desmond free to slip over the line untouched to leave the contest on a knife-edge.
The ensuing 10 minutes were condensed largely around midfield with the lack of scores more than compensated for by the intensity of the action as both Kelly and Naoise Greene traded scores within a 15-minute period.
The tie was settled four minutes from time when another long delivery created havoc in the 'Boden rearguard with substitute Conor O'Dwyer the main beneficiary as he slotted home from 10 yards, sealing a historic day for the Stillorgan club.